Orica-Scott rider Magnus Cort Nielsen hits the deck at high speed, bringing down a large number of riders with 200m to go
- Photos by Andy Jones

Stage one of the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire was marred by a large crash with 200m to go as Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the bunch sprint.

The Dutch national champion proved the fastest at the end of a tough day in the saddle, winning the sprint on Scarborough seafront as a chaos ensued behind.

Groenewegen was not the best positioned going into the final few hundred metres, but had a stroke of luck as space opened in front of him, enabling him to surge through, carrying enough space to edge out Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) for the stage win.

Tour de Yorkshire 2017, stage one

But it was Ewan’s team-mate Magnus Cort Nielsen who hit the deck hard, with only around 15 riders managing to avoid the chaos, as Nielsen’s crash triggered a chain reaction, with bodies and bikes blocking the road with 200m to go.

All riders were able to walk away from the crash, but Cort Nielsen looked considerably worse for wear, nursing what looked like a broken collarbone as he was helped across the line by team staff.

The opening stage of the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire started under sunny skies in the seaside resort of Bridlington and saw a fast start as the domestic teams in particular fought for a place in the break.

When the breakaway eventually formed it consisted of eight riders: Tobyn Horton (Madison-Genesis), Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport), Kamil Gradek (One Pro Cycling), James Lowsley Williams (Bike Channel-Canyon), Angel Madrazo (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Yoeri Havek (Raleigh GAC) Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie), and Etienne Van Empel (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij).

Conor Dunne, Tour de Yorkshire 2017, stage one

In the peloton the chase was led by the WorldTour teams of LottoNL-Jumbo and Orica-Scott, as the break’s advantage reached a maximum of around four minutes, but was quickly trimmed down to just two minutes, where it remained as the riders hit the second climb of the day at Goathland.

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Van Empel took the points at the top of the climb, and by the time the break reached the base of the final climb of the day out of Robin Hood’s Bay with 29km to go, the testing terrain had made itself felt, with only Van Empel, Dunne, and Quemeneur left out in front.

Knox and Bibby walk across the line, Tour de Yorkshire 2017, stage one

Unsurprisingly the relentless double digit gradients of that climb did further damage, with Quemeneur and Dunne dropping Van Empel and setting off in search of the peloton

There were also major splits in the peloton, with a group of around 30 riders forming over the crest of the climb, but that steadily grew over the following kilometres, meaning a sizeable group remained to chase Quemeneur and Dunne, who held a 30 second advantage with 20km remaining.

Jon Dibben, Tour de Yorkshire 2017, stage one

Quemeneur and Dunne were eventually caught with eight kilometres remaining, as the sprinters’ teams massed on the front with Orica-Scott leading the charge as they tried to set up Caleb Ewan.

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As the race hit the sea front with two kilometres to go it was still Orica-Scott at the front, but they seemed to have used their riders too early as Cofidis moved up with Bouhanni in second wheel.

A messy sprint always looked likely to produce a crash, and so it proved, as Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott) ran out of room between Luke Rowe (Team Sky) and Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) hitting the deck hard and bringing down a large number of riders to completely block the road.

But up ahead Groenewegen was clear of the chaos, coming around the outside of Bouhanni and Ewan, edging out the diminutive Australian by inches.

Magnus Cort Nielsen after stage one of the Tour de Yorkshire 2017

Russell Downing injured after Tour de Yorkshire 2017, stage one

Dylan Groenewegen wins Tour de Yorkshire 2017, stage one

Results

Tour de Yorkshire 2017, stage one: Bridlington to Scarborough (174km)

1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo, in 4-09-38
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott
3. Chris Opie (GBr) Bike Channel-Canyon
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
5. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) One Pro Cycling
6. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
7. Andre Looij (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij
8. Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
9. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Enrique Sanz (Esp) Raleigh GAC, all at same time

General classification after stage one

1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo, in 4-09-38
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 4 secs
3. Chris Opie (GBr) Bike Channel-Canyon, at 6 secs
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, at 10 secs
5. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) One Pro Cycling
6. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
7. Andre Looij (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij
8. Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
9. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Enrique Sanz (Esp) Raleigh GAC, all at same time